Toy Review: Sugar Rush Racers – Vanellope Von Schweetz, & King Candy
After seeing Wreck-It-Ralph when it was released, I was surprised by an astonishing realization. This was the first year that a Walt Disney Feature Animation release actually was more entertaining to me than a release from PIXAR Animation Studios. The emotional one-two punch just wasn’t there with Brave, but Ralph delivered in spades (along with the attached animated short, Paperman).
I also wonder if I’m a little biased towards Wreck-It-Ralph, due to his adventures in the racing world of Sugar Rush (I’m a big fan of things with wheels). The land is a combination of Mario Kart, and the world of Strawberry Shortcake, in which little kids with candy-related names, race across the cavity-inducing landscape to take 1st place.
With over 16 racers in the game, Disney’s marketing people must have seen this as a slam-dunk for merchandising potential. The majority of merchandise for the film (created by their in-house marketing and design team) centers around the myriad racers of Sugar Rush, from plush dolls to character sets of pins and erasers. However, the most interesting push has been the release of over 12 different racers and their vehicles as seen in the film. While the packaging screams to ‘collect them all,’ I’ve chosen to collect just two that are integral to the film’s plot: Vanellope Von Schweetz, and King Candy.
Sugar Rush Racers Review #1 – Vanellope Von Schweetz
We are introduced to Vanellope when Ralph makes his way into the Sugar Rush arcade game. Though a little bratty and big-mouthed when we first encounter her, we soon find that she’s a glitch within the game, who just wants the chance to race.
With Ralph’s help she acquires a racing kart, though not quite as pretty or perfect as the other racers. It’s a mish-mash of frosting, sprinkles, gummi worms, cookies, and other odds-and-ends. Even so, she loves it!
In a strange way, much like the denizens of Sugar Rush don’t want Vanellope to race, it almost felt like the packagers don’t want us to even take her out! The little figure of Vanellope was not only held by a larger twist tie, but one inside the plastic holding her down as well!
Once I got her out of the packaging and into her car, it was then I noticed a big problem. In the film, the kart’s seat is a cream-filled chocolate sandwich. But in the toy form, Vanellope doesn’t sit on this so much lean back on it. To put her in the kart, one has to push her right up near the front windshield, and even there, her hands don’t come close to the area where the steering wheel is (not that her hands can actually hold it).
Once I started going over the design of her kart, I was torn regarding what we had on hand. The marketing and product design team working for The Disney Store and The Disney Parks usually do some top-notch design work, but the work on Vanellope’s vehicle is kind of a mish-mash of quality.
There’s great detail such as the myriad sprinkles and icing on the layer of chocolate, and there’s even a nice bit of dribbling for the chocolate coming off the wafer/spoiler in the back. However, I was a little disappointed in the wheels and pipes along the sides.
If one compares the pipes in the toy to the film still above, it almost looks like the colors of each was inverted.
The wheels could have been a great place for some sculpting to shine. The raised gummi-worm treads would have added a nice level of dimension instead of the more generic ‘flattened-worm’ look we get. As well, the wheel designs are a mixed bag. The colors and designs are just off in certain places, like the rear left cookie wheel, which is white in the film (here, it’s black).
The figure of Vanellope is a well-sculpted design, and even has movable arms and legs. However, due to her body design, you’ll need to make alot of attempts before she can even stand upright outside of her kart.
This was one toy I was really hoping for a good level of screen-accurate detail. However, little areas here and there had me a little sad that this sculpt couldn’t have been improved on a bit for a much greater final product.
Final Rating: B+
Sugar Rush Racers Review #2 – King Candy
Sugar Rush and its daily races are presided over by King Candy (Alan Tudyk), a rather jovial ruler who is often bouncing around, telling his subjects to ‘have some candy!’ He’s also known to enter the races himself.
Candy’s racer is much simpler than those of the other competitors. It appears to be sculpted largely out of white chocolate, with several darker chocolate pieces in place for his vehicle’s chair.
King Candy’s figure has a large head and tiny legs, which is a dis-advantage for him in one respect: he will not stand on his own.
In that respect, Candy seems more at home inside his royal racer. Unlike Vanellope, the seating inside his kart seems nice and simple. When he sits down, he appears to be perfectly suited to his new driving environment.
Maybe because there isn’t so much detail, Candy’s kart seems to be the better-sculpted of the two. It’s simple ‘sculpted’ lines have a nice whipped cream flow-through. However, there are a few design nitpicks based on screen-accuracy:
– the film image above shows a slightly darker-white body than the toy. As well, the flower patterns inside the wheels should be white frosting, not pink.
The fact that Candy’s toy kart does not have little flags on the rear can be avoided by me, as these would definitely be seen as choking hazards for children. Even so, the three horns on the right-hand side add a nice little detail to the relative uniformity of the vehicle’s design.
It’s easy for me to overlook much of the coloration differences in King Candy’s kart between the toy and film versions. The simplicity of the design carries over nicely into toy form, with the figure of Candy sitting nicely in his royal seat.
Final Grade: A-
One feature each of the racers comes with, is a small key that acts as a launcher. Once a key is inserted into the rear of the racer, a click signifies that it’s locked. Pushing the button on the side of the key unlatches it, and the car takes off. Each of the keys appears to be the same size, so one doesn’t have to worry about having multiple different keys.
Vanellope, King Candy, and the additional Sugar Rush racers are available as Disney Store exclusive merchandise. Priced at $9.50 apiece, the price seems a few dollars higher than what I would say they should be priced at, but as with anything having the Disney name on it, you do pay a little extra.